Weekly Playlist #29: mellow mornings

weekly playlist #29: mellow mornings

 

Some days, you just need something mellow with your coffee. That’s why we’ve offered – and you’ve chosen – mellow mornings as today’s weekly playlist.

 

Today’s highlights are the quiet kind.  Now is an always-timely reminder to live in the moment, be humble and seek the positives. With her #GratefulGang movement, that attitude of gratitude is exactly what Becky Lawrence tries to promote every day.

 

Where The Heart Is is my next highlight – because you all know by now that if I can get a Brett Eldredge song on a playlist, I will. But this is such a bright, soothing track with a similar message to Now – looking for the heart and something to be grateful for.

 

My last highlight this week is These Days. I could listen to this song ALL DAY. Joey Clarkson’s delicate vocal delivery coupled with the gentle, soothing melody have put this song right at the top of my morning coffee playlist. And she has a fantastic video for it, too.

 

Find the full playlist here.

 

And that’s just about it! What do you like to listen to on a lazy morning? Let me know your highlights! Don’t forget, you can suggest your own themes here.

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REVIEW – Halle Kearns – Shoes To Fill

Halle Kearns - Shoes To Fill

Following two wildly successful releases, Missouri-born Nashvillian Halle Kearns is set to slow things down with a delicate, heartfelt ballad.  Shoes To Fill, released on 23rd October 2020, is the much-anticipated third single from Kearns, and she describes it as her favourite so far.

 

Shoes to Fill shows us yet another facet of Kearns’ artistry. The track is a heartfelt and moving tribute to Kearns’ beloved father and something of a warning to any potential suiters – the bar has been set high. Following two upbeat, contemporary-country releases, this is a nice change of pace. It’s a piano-led, traditional-leaning ballad with Kearns’ vocal prowess in fine form, easily and sweetly singing of her adoration for her father. Kearns notes “it’s an incredibly special song to me, and my favourite I’ve written so far because it’s so authentic and true to my story. My dad is my best friend, and I’m beyond excited to have my listeners hear about what a stand-up guy he is.”

 

 

Halle Kearns recently featured in Missouri local newspaper ‘The Columbia Daily Tribune’, following the success of her first two singles.  She will appear in a DC Brown writers round (Facebook) on 25th October and in an interview with Kellie on bringcountry2uk (Instagram) on 7th November.

SHOES TO FILL is released on 23rd October on all major platforms. Pre-save it here. Follow Halle on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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REVIEW – Adele & Andy – Took His Love Away

Adele & Andy - Took His Love Away

 

Staffordshire-based duo Adele & Andy release Took His Love Away on 30th October 2020. The single is inspired by a friend and the loss of his wife. With the song, the duo hope to offer comfort and hope to those struggling with loss.

 

Took His Love Away opens with Adele’s angelic voice and a rich, mournful guitar.  Adele’s voice is truly something special, and she doesn’t hold back here. Singing live, she can stop you in your tracks with her crystal clear tone. That translates well to this recording, as she harmonises with herself throughout.  Andy’s musicianship is subtly beautiful, full of mournful flourishes and sweet stabs.

 

 

Adele & Andy are an award-winning modern country duo based in Staffordshire, UK.  Between Adele’s rich, effortless vocals and Andy’s masterful guitar playing, they have received universal appeal for their real life-inspired lyrics and fresh storytelling.  Their latest single ‘Say It Out Loud’ peaked at #27 in the UK Country iTunes Chart and has had radio support in over 50 countries. 

 

 

TOOK HIS LOVE AWAY is available for pre-order here. Follow Adele & Andy on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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Weekly Playlist #28: all about the south

weekly playlist #28: all about the south

 

As The Cadillac Three said quite succinctly – it’s all about the south. This week’s playlist is full of southern celebration: from Hicktown to God’s Country and everything in between.

 

This week’s highlights are some of my all-time favourites. All About The South is the inspiration for the whole collection, and one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands. You all know I adore TC3 and their swampy, boozy and bluesy variety of country – and this collaboration with Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli fits right in.  I can also confirm it is hella fun to roll your windows down and sing along to.

 

God’s Country is one of my favourite recent hits. I remember hearing it for the first time and being blown away by the sound, the imagery and the emotion it evoked. It was a visceral reaction, and the song still hits hard even now.

 

This week’s final highlight is Southern Ways, simply because it oozes that low, slow, summer nostalgia and as the weather tends towards winter now, I am fully on board with heading back to those southern ways!

 

Check out the full playlist here.

 

Shout out to TC3 for getting two songs on this week’s playlist! What are your favourite southern anthems? Let me know your highlights! Don’t forget, you can suggest your own themes here.

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REVIEW – The Southern Gothic – Past Midnight

the Southern Gothic - Past Midnight

 

Nashville band The Southern Gothic is set to release Past Midnight on 23rd October.  The band’s previous albums blurred the lines between country and alternative rock before a long hiatus. During the band’s downtime, frontman Connor Christian dug deep into his musical roots, moving past his heavy reliance on country sounds and bringing back nods to the rock and pop songs that shaped him as a young man and music fan.

 

Past Midnight is a euphoric ode to living in the moment crossing tomorrow’s bridge when it comes.  The energy behind this late-night summer soundtrack is lively and energised.  The interplay between the piano, guitar and effortless storytelling paints a picture of a hundred colours, whilst the counter-melody offers a unique and unexpected spirit. Christian has laughed off the idea that he can only enjoy one genre, and further explains his distaste of genre arbiters, noting “I love music and I want to be able to explore – wherever that takes me.” His wide-ranging influences are front and centre in this track, pushing the boundaries of Americana further than ever before.

 

Past Midnight was co-written and produced with Grammy-nominated Keith Hetrick (Pitbull/Charlie Wilson/Got7).

 

PAST MIDNIGHT is set for release on all major platforms on 23rd October 2020. Pre-save it here. Follow Southern Gothic on Facebook, Instagram or visit their website.

 

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REVIEW – Motel Sundown – Before Midnight

Motel Sundown - Before Midnight

Liverpool-based trio Motel Sundown released their debut single to critical acclaim last year, and followed it with another well-received release earlier this year. Both singles garnered local radio support with airplay from BBC Radio Ulster and Merseyside, as well as BCMA Radio.  They’re back with a new release for autumn, having announced Before Midnight to release on 23rd October.

 

The track opens with church bells, before a discordant guitar brings us into an unexpected – but certainly not unwelcome – male lead vocal. The distinctive guitar drips with reverb and nostalgia – the vintage styling is reminiscent of the trio’s previous release.  The harmonies from Karen and Naomi steal the show easily.  Motel Sundown have a knack for taking today’s trends and wrapping them in their own unique brand of traditional.

 

Since forming in 2018 the band have performed at Melodica Festival (Reykjavik), Country on the Coast (Portsmouth), hosted The Grand Opry Sessions (Liverpool), and supported American Singer/Songwriter Alice Walker at the renowned Grateful Fred Sessions (Southport). With rich, earthy harmonies and influence from Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young, their music is a unique blend of Americana, Country and Folk Rock.

 

You can catch Motel Sundown live at The Rigger in Stoke on Trent on 16th October.  BEFORE MIDNIGHT is available to stream and download from 23rd October, along with the trio’s debut music video. Pre save here (or here for Amazon.com). Follow Motel Sundown on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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REVIEW – Teagan Stewart – Taste of My Heartbreak EP

Teagan Stewart - Taste of My Heartbreak EP

 

This review has been a long time in the making. Last month, we featured Teagan as an interviewee and in our #whatmadeyoucountry series and now I’m so excited to finally share a review of her EP, Taste Of My Heartbreak.  Teagan explains the backstory of this intensely personal project:

 

 I designed it to mimic the emotional arc of my breakup. You begin with the title track (out now), where the initial shock of the break up makes you feel all kinds of things, like edgy, playful, petty, and a little angry. Then you move through all these different stages – denial, loneliness, newfound freedom, recklessness, etc.

 

The six-song collection features four songs written solely by Stewart. It opens with the title track which was released as the lead single back in August. It’s gorgeous – it perfectly showcases Teagan’s bluesy, powerhouse vocals, with shades of Colbie Caillat and Gone West. It gives a taste not only of Stewart’s heartbreak but of a unique, almost beachy vibe that carries through the whole EP. I’ve had it on repeat ever since it landed in my inbox.

 

Date A Musician is next, and this one opens with a sultry, sexy guitar to double down on the blues-country influence. The guitar drives this song, lazy and loud – the soundscape feels almost uncomfortably hot – like a day that’s so hot it’s suffocating.

 

After a bluesy start, Sad Songs is a ballad with some lovely traditional folk-country flourishes.  It shows us a different side to Stewart – the delicate touch in her vocals and the depth of emotion she can pack into each word.

 

Your Personality Sucks is a return to a more upbeat sound – and this is quintessential country.  Everything about it is stunningly traditional in sound, and once again Stewart proves she’s no shy, retiring wallflower as she calls out the cause of her heartbreak.

 

Homebody is the penultimate track. It maintains the traditional country edge of the previous song and fuses it with a little blues and a whole lot of rock and roll. This is Stewart’s proud-to-be-single festival anthem.

 

The EP closes with Good Intentions, which opens with an emotive vocal performance and a simple piano, before picking up strings.  This is the heartbreaker of the collection – through a masterful vocal performance, all of Stewart’s pain hits hard in this one song.

 

This is a stunningly cohesive heartbreak collection. From the painful ballads to the I’m over you showstoppers, there’s nothing I wouldn’t play on repeat. Each track brings something new, sonically speaking, but listen to the EP as a whole and it’s a journey. The EP was recorded in early 2020 at Hey World Productions with Sean Rogers in Nashville, TN. Rogers has worked extensively with both upcoming and established artists, including Chase Matthew, Dylan Wolfe,  Eric Church and Dierks Bentley.

 

With touring plans on hold due to COVID-19, Stewart hosted a weekly live stream concert for two months and logged more than 15 hours of live music content with a loyal audience.

 

TASTE OF MY HEARTBREAK is available to stream and download from 23rd October. Pre-save the EP here. Follow Teagan on FacebookTwitter & Instagram, or visit her website.

 

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REVIEW – Brenna Bone – What Do I Do Now?

Brenna Bone - What Do I Do Now?

 

October 16th sees the release of What Do I Do Now? by Pennsylvanian Brenna Bone. Born and raised in Erie, PA, Bone has always had a love for music, songwriting, and performing. In 2014, she began playing shows around her hometown, stunning bargoers and fellow musicians alike as one of the youngest original artists in town. She is a self-taught musician, and two in 2016, she made the move to Nashville, TN. Since then, she has continued to narrate her journey through life, through songwriting.

 

What Do I Do Now? opens with a guitar and some distant percussion to support Bone’s light and lilting vocal. There’s an element of Cassadee Pope’s Hey Monday days to the track; the interplay between strong, high vocal and rich guitar is hard, powerful and emotive. This is a song Bone admits is incredibly special, inspired by the loss of a close friend. Through the verses, we hear the story of life without a loved one. You can hear the pain packed into the chorus as Bone sings – or perhaps cries – the titular phrase over and over. It’s a stunning take on the heartbreak ballad and one that will surely resonate with anyone who has felt that loss.

 

WHAT DO I DO NOW? is released on 16th October. Pre-save it here. Follow Brenna on Instagram and Facebook.

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